God Never Wastes a Hurt

God never wastes a hurt, God wants to use you. In the back of my Bible I have random quotes and thoughts that I have heard over the years. I’m not sure where I was when I heard this, but I’m certain that God prompted me to write it down. I’m clinging to this now and trusting that there has to be something big in my future.

I’m not mad anymore. I’m tired and frustrated. I’m frustrated with the reality that Epilepsy has no cure and no perfect medicine. I remember when I was little and we would go to the Davidson Clinic to see Dr. Williams. I used to ask my parents why doctors “practiced medicine”. That indicated to me that it was not yet perfected and I didn’t understand letting someone who is still practicing something stick me with needles and prescribe drugs to me. Now I understand why doctors still “practice” medicine. I was right all along; medicine is not yet perfected. I understand it, but truly I would prefer that someone other than me serve as the guinea pig.

Apparently I make a good study in medicine. Lord help me, I surely hope THAT is not the big purpose that God has for me! You know when you read the labels on medicine and it says “a small number of patients may experience rare and unusual side effects such as…”, yes, well I tend to fall into that category. I guess everyone falls into some statistic and at least I fall into the rare and unusual category. I’ve always thought I was a kind of stand out person anyway. I majored in Psychology in college, it was not my intention to become a study in psychology. Nevertheless, here I am.

The good news is that the seizures have stopped. The not so good news is that as I slowly increase the new medicine I rapidly turn into someone I do not even recognize. It’s really quite possible that Webster’s 2012 newest addition will read: Mood Swing – definition Gatewood Campbell. I asked Johnny if I could hang a sign around my neck that reads “Heavily medicated. Not responsible for anything that is said or done.”  This new medicine turned me into someone I don’t know nor can I control. After several days of uncontrollable sobbing and screaming at strangers in parking lots for their inability to drive responsibly (or whatever else was annoying me at the time) I decided it was best that I remove myself from the outside for a bit. It seemed that was in my best interest as well as the best interest of the state of North Carolina.

Epilepsy is all about misfires in the brain. In order to treat it, you have to corral the misfires. Let’s just say that I’ve got some wanderers that clearly do not want to cooperate. My doctor says that the side effects I am experiencing are rare and unusual. I really should have expected that by now. Although I am more than ready to throw in the towel, quitting is not an option. I’m still trying to convince myself that a seizure would be worse than how I feel on this medicine. The jury is still out on that one for now.

So, here we go again. In order to isolate the symptoms I’m having, we backed off the new meds for a week and in a few days I will try them again. My dosing schedule is about as complex and confusing as the back to school forms for the boys. I hope I’m more successful at my dosing than I was at communicating how Hunter was supposed to get home from school on the first day. Oh well, he eventually made it home safely regardless of the detours. I certainly pray that the outcome of my detour will end favorably as well.

I’m forever thankful for the generous help and support of our friends and family who continue to rally around us. I have no words to express the depth of gratitude I have for what you have given our family. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

God never wastes a hurt, God wants to use me. I’m sure it is for more than a footnote to some pharmaceutical company’s research, so until then I’m trying to put aside my frustration and hang on to see the bigger picture.

Copyright © Gatewood Campbell, August 2011

The HOV Lane Leads to Chicago

I’ve been traveling through fog on a deserted road for the last couple of months. I’ve had the headlights on, but the road remained dark and twisted. If I dared to turn on the bright lights and get a glimpse of the road ahead, it frightened me. So I dimmed the lights, squinted my eyes and hesitantly drove on. In a brief moment of bravery, I turned on the bright lights and took a glance at my surroundings. I discovered the beauty of the HOV lane. People were thumbing a ride with me. No one cared my rate of travel, nor my route, nor the personal investment. Friends were standing by, wanting to help, asking to help, taking action to help. You have called me, emailed me, texted me, commented on my blog, and posted to my FB wall. You have shown up at my house with meals to feed our family and relieved me of cooking for several more weeks. I’ve been overwhelmed by your generosity and blessed by the outpouring of support of our friends. I’m not prone to accept help, but you offered freely, and I discovered immense relief in accepting it. I don’t know how to express my gratitude for the love you have shown me during this frustrating detour, except to let you know that you have made it easier. Thank you for sharing my burden. I needed to pass along my fear and my anger and you allowed it. When I can’t see past the tip of my nose to get through a day, you have taken the wheel and let me stretch out in the back seat and rest until I have the energy to grab the wheel again. This is not going to be a quick trip, and there will be some unexpected stops along the way, but the finish line is on my radar. You have brought light to my path. Thank you for making it possible for me to see through the fog.

The results of our two-week trial have shown that the meds I’ve been on for the last five years aren’t doing the job for me anymore. So it’s out with the old and in with the new. I’m trading in for a different model, the newer and hopefully more improved model. We have plotted a new route, but my rate of travel is going to be slow. It will take 6 weeks to gradually wean off of one drug and on to the new drug. I would be kidding myself if I said the timing of this change did not bother me. My next marathon is 8 weeks from now. You do the math…I’m going to spend the next 6 weeks in the toughest part of my marathon training…while weaning off of one anti-seizure drug and onto a brand new drug that I have never used before. I have no idea if it will work, what side effects I will encounter or how it will play with my mind. Nervous? Yes. Quitting? Not even an option! When I set out to run the Chicago Marathon, I decided I was going to run it to celebrate life. More specifically, I’m running Chicago with Team in Training to celebrate my Mom’s life as a Leukemia Survivor. I’m still doing that and I’m just adding more incentive to conquer the windy city. I’m going to celebrate the gift of the ability to run the open road. When so much of my life right now is unknown, there is one thing that I know. I WILL COVER THE DISTANCE. This time, the challenge is going to be a little bigger, because I guess 26.2 miles isn’t a big enough challenge. But I’m here to say that I’m up for it, and I’m not backing down (unless a random metal sign falls on my head and knocks me down…true story). I’m running Chicago, and my Mom is going to be waiting for me at the finish line and we will Celebrate Life and Celebrate Survivors…together!

Copyright © Gatewood Campbell, August 2011